I’m sure you’re watching the devastating situation unfold in Afghanistan with a sense of real horror. We’re continuing to hear and see the deep distress and desperation felt by so many people both in Afghanistan and here in the Australian community. They’re asking how they can help loved ones, and other close connections evacuate to safety. And for people here – how they can secure enduring safety in Australia.
I’m writing to update you on what we’re currently doing to respond to this crisis. Our response includes:
- Urgent legal assistance for people at imminent risk in Afghanistan seeking immediate evacuation to Australia.
- Set-up of an Afghanistan Legal Hotline and special Legal Clinic for people seeking legal help who are impacted by the crisis – whether in Afghanistan (or other countries), or in Australia.
- Meetings with members of the Afghan Australian community to discuss the impact on individuals and communities – and identification of key legal priorities and advocacy strategies.
- Collaboration with sector partners on legal and strategic action.
- Collaboration with global partners to convene ‘Urgent Consultation on Meeting Legal Needs Arising from the Afghanistan Situation’.
Many people are also asking us what they can do to help. One step you can take right now is to write to your local Federal Member of Parliament and State Senators and urge the Australian Government to act immediately to:
- Evacuate people at imminent risk, including people who’ve worked with the Australian Government and organisations.
- Lift the humanitarian intake and offer at least 20,000 additional places to particularly vulnerable Afghans.
- Grant permanent protection to Afghans here on temporary visas.
- Reassess cases of Afghans refused refugee protection.
- Provide family reunion visas for relatives at risk.
Australia has a deep tradition of stepping up at times of humanitarian crisis to provide direct help and international leadership. It is incumbent upon Australia to do so again now.
We will continue to do everything humanly possible to provide legal help to people in desperate need. We will also continue to work together with partners to press for immediate action by the Australian Government to step up and do more to respond to the dire plight of Afghan people.
Sincerely and in solidarity,
Executive Director & Principal Solicitor